West Coast Committee: Engaging Renewables

5th April 2012 in West Coast

The NFFO West Coast Committee has made substantial progress in establishing a working dialogue with the growing marine renewables interests in the Irish Sea, following a period of soured relations and misunderstandings.

The Committee observed at its recent meeting in Morecambe on 29th March that a new era of dialogue had opened up. The Committee has actively engaged with representatives of the West of Morecambe Fisheries Fund which is made up from a group of eastern Irish Sea energy developers (covering Walney 1&2, Ormonde and the West of Duddon Sands Developments). Progress had been made through a series of meetings towards establishing working arrangements for the fund to commence operation with the aim at supporting worthy fishing industry projects directed through a fishing industry advisory group. The Committee has also engaged in discussions on the planning of potential new wind-farm projects and successfully:

  • Encouraged developers to consider existing fisheries and the potential to adjust wind farm plans in the northern Irish Sea.
  • Promoted best practice approaches to planning.
  • Promoted better understanding and coexistence between the two industries.

Committee Chairman, Ron Graham, said: “It has taken some time and effort to build up a working dialogue following the reinvigoration of the Committee in 2009, and we are not without issues to resolve, but we are gradually developing a common understanding. After seeing the region’s fleet steadily decrease in size, it is important that the industry gets support for the necessary projects that will help to sustain and develop market access for the remaining fleet so that it can take up opportunities in the future.”

The Committee also reviewed the status of Marine Conservation Zone planning, crab and lobster policy and cockle management proposals.